Calculating Damages and Medical Expenses in a Personal Injury Claim

The value of your personal injury claim depends on the different types of losses you have suffered. This blog will focus on how to calculate medical expenses in a personal injury claim.  Now for medical expenses, you must consider your past medical bills, your current medical bills and any future medical bills you might incur from an ongoing problem related to a serious injury.  Then, you gather all of your medical bills, prescription medication costs, physical therapy and chiropractic care bills, and any other medical bills you received as a result of the bodily injury you sustained as a result of a car accident, a dog bite or animal attack claim, a slip and fall claim, or any other type of personal injury claim.  From there, most people think you just add them all together and presto out jumps your total medical damages.

Well over the years Texas case law has complicated the process of calculating costs and rather than quoting a bunch legal mumbo jumbo, I have provided the case reference if you want to read more.  See Haygood v. Escabedo, 09-0377 (TEX. July 1, 2011).  In the meantime, I will provide you with some examples you can understand.

Example 1.  John Doe is involved in an car accident and he rushed to the hospital from the scene.  John provides the medics with his health care information.  His healthcare plan picks up the $25,00 bill.  His insurance company has a preexisting agreement with the hospital so, it recalculates the costs and his healthcare plan only pays $9,000 for John’s hospital bill.    Now when John’s claim is evaluated by the at-fault party’s car insurance company,  it will only look at the $9,000  rather than the $25,000.

More importantly, if John’s case goes before a jury he can only provide evidence of the $9000 paid versus the $25,000 actually billed by the hospital.  This is significant because juries often look at the total medical expenses to calculate pain and suffering.  A bill of $25,000 indicates a more serious injury than a $9,000 bill.

Example 2.  Now look at Sally Doe who is involved in a similar accident and she incurred $25,000 in medical bills and has no insurance.  She is able to present evidence to show the total $25,000 in medical bills and the jury has all the medical information needed to make a decision as to the seriousness of the injury and the pain she suffered.

This is not true for John’s personal injury claim; he is essentially penalized for having insurance because the jury is not given all of the information to determine the pain and suffering John experienced as a result of the wrongdoer.

Calculating medical expenses is no longer a matter of taking all your medical bills and simply adding them together.  You must know the law surrounding medical damages and how to accurately calculate those damages in personal injury claims.  Then you must be able to provide evidence to show the seriousness of certain injuries even when the bills do not add up.

For more information, contact Farrah Martinez, PLLC at (713) 853-9296 or visit us at Farrah will evaluate your personal injury claim at no cost to you.

Attorney Farrah Martinez Celebrating Her
 Completion of the Galveston Diva Dash Half Marathon
**Rights Reserved**

Like many of you, I am a runner.  However, most of Houston and Harris County is not setup to travel by foot.  If you do not live near one the city’s amazing running trails, navigating the traffic and dodging cars is often a challenge.  
Running or walking with cars can be dangerous.  The Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 552, outlines the rules of the road for pedestrians aka runners, joggers, and walkers.  This blog post will also tackle the biggest question among those on foot versus those traveling by vehicle:  Who has the right of way?
Here are some tips to avoid an accident and to ensure you are on the right side of the law?
1. Sidewalks.  When there is a sidewalk, you must use it!  A pedestrian may not run, walk or jog along and on a roadway if an adjacent sidewalk is provided and is accessible to the pedestrian. 

2. No Sidewalks.  When there is NO sidewalk, a runner, jogger or walker that is traveling along and on a highway must, if possible, run, walk or jog on: (a) the left side of the roadway; or (b) the shoulder of the highway facing oncoming traffic.       

3. Traffic Control Signals.   A traffic control signal, displaying green, red, and yellow lights or lighted arrows, apply to a pedestrian unless the pedestrian is otherwise directed by a special pedestrian control signal.

4. IF a Control Signal is Present, Pedestrian Right of Way. (a) A pedestrian control signal displaying “Walk,” “Don’t Walk,” or “Wait” applies to a pedestrian;  (b) a pedestrian facing a “Walk” signal can walk, run or job across a roadway in the direction of the signal.  A driver must yield the right-of-way to the pedestrian; and (c)  a pedestrian cannot start to cross a roadway in the direction of a “Don’t Walk” signal or a “Wait” signal.  A pedestrian who has partially crossed while the “Walk” signal is displayed can continue to run, walk or job to a sidewalk or safety island while the “Don’t Walk” signal or “Wait” signal is displayed.

5. Pedestrian Right-of-way at Crosswalk. (A) Drivers must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing a roadway in a crosswalk if:
(i) there is no traffic control signal or if it is not working properly; or
(ii) the pedestrian is:
          (a) on the half of the roadway in which the vehicle is traveling; or
          (b) approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as                        to be in danger.

(1) A pedestrian cannot suddenly leave a curb or a place of safety and                   proceed into a crosswalk in the path of a vehicle 

(2) A driver approaching from the rear of a vehicle that is stopped at a                   crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross a roadway cannot pass the                   stopped vehicle.
These rules are here to protect the runner as well as the driver.  By staying on the side of the road facing traffic, you can see approaching cars and bicycles and they can see you.  Wear reflective gear when running in the dark.  Stay on the sidewalk when you can and never ever assume that a vehicle is going to stop for you.  If possible, make eye contact with the driver before you proceed.  Let them go by unless they yield to you, and then continue your workout.  

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured while walking or running, call Houston Accident and Pedestrian Lawyer Farrah Martinez at (713) 853-9296.  It takes a runner to understand one!